- The Japanese food guide - "The Spinning Top" lowers the risk of death caused by the
major chronic diseases.
a well-balanced diet with staple food
including cereals, vegetables, fruits, milk products, fish and meat.
the calories you consume by doing some physical activities.
your diet by keeping
track of your daily food intake.
Over the past few decades, the
Japanese population's life expectancy has been steadily on the rise. As of now, it has been
observed to be among the longest in the world, where Japanese women have a life expectancy of 87 years.
Universal coverage of health
insurance along with other factors like cultural and socioeconomic background
have contributed to the betterment of health among the people of Japan. Among
these, what takes special attention is the role played by the improved Japanese diet which has better
nutritional balance. This has paved the way for a concept that has
substantially gained clinical interest: The study of the association between
Japanese diet and the risk of mortality!
‘The Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top increases life expectancy by decreasing the risk of certain chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease.’
Recent findings from a study conducted by the National Centre for Health and Medicine in Tokyo have confirmed that upon following Japanese dietary guidelines, people can reduce the risk of death
Studies based on western
population have remarked that high-quality diet was associated with lower risks
of death caused by the major chronic diseases. But such evidence based on Asian
population had been missing. This study has now revealed that close adherence
to dietary guidelines of Japan reduces the risks of death from all causes
including those caused by cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases.
One of the main emphasis of the study was that a balanced diet
comprising of grains, fruits, vegetables
, meat, eggs, dairy products, soy products and confectionaries could increase life expectancy
by lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases
"The Spinning Top" - Japanese Dietary Guidelines
The Japanese government had
designed the Japanese food guide - "The Spinning Top" to illustrate the quantity and balance of food items in the
Japanese diet. It was launched in 2000, but got published only in 2005 and now,
a team of Japanese researchers, led by Kayo
Kurotani have sought the association between adherence to the Japanese food
guide and total and cause-specific mortality in their population.
The Japanese food guide was developed by the Japanese government with the aim of promoting improved dietary patterns. It was created as a tool for food and nutrition education to help people practice healthy eating habits
. The spinning top guide was designed in such a way that it resembles the renowned toy of Japanese
tradition. It is a rotating cone shaped structure which is top down and has layers of food groups that depict various dishes.
The recommended daily servings determine the order of the food groups.The top layer contained grain-based dishes like bread, rice, pasta and noodles followed by vegetable-based dishes like soups, salads
and boiled vegetables. Beneath is the layer for eggs
, fish and meat dishes and what follows is the bottom most layer containing milk and fruit. There's a person running on top of the rotating spinning top which represents the significance of regular physical activity
for good health. In addition to the emphasis on diet and exercise, the guidelines also recommend drinking plenty of water/tea and moderate intake of confectionary, beverages and snacks.
The dietary guidelines come with
a chart that shows the daily recommended servings for each food group along
with illustrated examples of food items/dishes that meet the recommendations.
The assessment of diet quality has been found to be of use in finding out the effect of diet on risks of death. The study attempts at illustrating the quantity and balance of food in the daily diet of Japanese people. In the year 2009, Oba & colleagues came up with a scoring system to measure the adherence to the dietary guidelines
based on consumption of dishes made of grains
, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and milk along with the sum of daily energy generated from intake of snacks and alcoholic beverages.
Several dietary scoring systems
were also developed to assess the
intake of meat and fish or the quality of fat, which plays a significant role in the prevention of
cardiovascular diseases. They examined the relation between standard and
modified scores on the Japanese dietary guidelines and cause-specific deaths
using the information from a large-scale population cohort study among 42970
women and 36624 men aged 45-75. The data was collected via lifestyle questionnaires;
the participants who had no history of chronic diseases like stroke, cancer,
heart or liver diseases were followed
for 15 years. Mortality and causes of their deaths were identified via death
certificates and residential registry.
Higher the Diet Quality Scores, Lower the Risk of Deaths
Higher scores on food guide
adherence were inversely associated with mortality due to cardiovascular
diseases and cerebrovascular diseases, but there was no such inverse
association inferred with deaths due to cancer.
The association with lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality was explained by consumption of fruits and vegetables, and with that of cerebrovascular disease was partly explained by the consumption of fish
and meat. The findings also made a suggestion that high amounts of fruits and vegetables and adequate amount of meat and fish can significantly reduce mortality.
The findings were the same as
that of the concept of Chinese food pagoda score being associated with lower
rates of mortality from chronic diseases.
Kurotani, Shamima Akter, Ikuko Kashino, Atsushi Goto, Tetsuya Mizoue,
Mitsuhiko Noda, Shizuka Sasazuki, Norie Sawada, Shoichiro Tsugane. Qualityof diet and mortality among Japanese
men and women: Japan Public Health Center based prospective study. BMJ, 2016; i1209 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.i1209